Monday, June 29, 2009

This is a group photo after the baptism. Sister Hylton is the one sort of in the middle with the pink striped shirt and the long hair. umm...I don't really have to much time to explain who everyone is in it... sort of out of time today! I will try... left to right Bro. Allen, Bro. Eli, German lady related to sister hylton, Bro. Henry, sister hylton, sister henry (on the ground) some one I don't know, another person I don't know, sister Joyce (red, yellow, green strip shirt), sister whyte (god is great shirt) sister thompson, me, president anderson, elder hillam...well got to go!
elder talbert

Key Indicators

Good to hear from you all again! I am happy to hear that CJ and Shea are getting ready to go! That is great! This week has been good. I got your package, it was good! Haha I am unsure what I am going to do with my chunk of the deck, but it was a nice piece of the deck, it gave me a good laugh. The Ties are nice, I like the combo of one terrible looking tie and a nice tie. Thanks. Transformers 2 was good? I will be excited to watch that one!
Transfers came and I am still in Negril! Haha I will be here for another 7 weeks at least. My companion goes home after this transfer so either they will white wash Negril (move both missionaries out of the area) or I will stay here for another 3 months. I think they will white wash it, it is rare that a missionary stays in the their first area for longer than 4 transfers. I am yet to meet a single one in Jamaica who stayed longer than 6 months in their first area. In our district Elder Sizemore went to Kingston and was replaced by a brand new missionary, from Provo, Ut. He went to Provo High and graduated 2008, but I don't think I know him, maybe I will recognize him on Wednesday.
Yesterday was a good day. A lot happened. I had to give a talk in Sacrament meeting again. It was decent. I had no time to prepare but still managed to take a good 15 minutes. Our branch president asked Elder Hillam and I to teach Temple Prep to 3 of our members. It will be really good. I am excited to help some of our members prepare to enter into the temple! And best of all we got to Baptize sister Hylton! It went over very smoothly.
I have been working on transferring some pictures between cameras here so This email might be a bit short. I will try my hardest to get some good stuff in it. I have finished the transfer but now I just need to write an email! haha
Well I guess I could briefly go through Sis. Hylton’s conversion story. We met her on our second night together. Elder Hillam and I had just been blown out by our investigator and we were 5 miles from town. It was 8 pm, which is a dumb time, every one in Jamaica is either at a party or in bed by that time. So we didn’t know what to do. We just started walking down the road and talked to anyone we could find. We saw a lady walking towards us carrying groceries and decided to help her carry them. Started to talk to her and walked about ½ mile to her house. She told us about some hard times she was having in her life and so we shared a quick spiritual thought with her and asked if we could come back the next day. She agreed and then we started to teach her. Sister Hylton progressed farily well but had a second baptism concern that we had to work through. She received great support from some of the members and eventually worked everything out and agreed to be baptized. Teaching her was fairly easy, she is intelligent and reads everything we left her so she was always prepared for our return the next day. She came to church 4 times in a row and everything looked great for her baptism! Well Thursday night of this past week we went and told all the members when and where, then we called president gingery and asked for permission to get up early to get to her baptism. He denied our request..which was a big problem! Haha every baptism in Negril had been done as we had planned it, but for some reason we were denied. So we reorganized our plans, and Friday we rode to all the members again and told them when we would be having the baptism. It was a lot of bike riding and we wasted a lot of time! But in the end we got it done and all went well! The water in the Caribbean ocean is super warm! I was way surprised. She had asked me to perform the baptism so that was great! Well that is the really brief quick story haha
Well things in Jamaica go well. It has been really hot and dry this past week but oh well. I don't really have much to else to say. We have 0 investigators and so this next week is going to seem really long with a lot of finding time. I am short on time! Thanks again for the package. I hope you all enjoy vacation in Nevada. And thanks for that good analogy Dad! (and the chunk of the deck!)
I love you all and hope the week is good! Next week I will get a better email sent haha!
-Love Elder Kent Talbert

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shields Up, Red Alert!

Well this week has been good. Not anything horribly exciting has happened but I have been quite busy! To start out I must say that Malt-o-meal with lumps is much better than no lumps, it makes it taste good! I have to agree with mom on that one. If life was just smooth and creamy we would never learn anything, only when we have lumps of trials and difficulties do we learn anything and come out as a better person. (cheesy vague connection to the gospel). Oh and Happy late fathers day dad!
That game you have been playing Jospeh, Lego battles, do you own it or are you renting it? Sounds like something I will have to try when I get home, I think I would enjoy it, I will just have to write that down somewhere to remember to play it, I will forget if I don't write it down.
Early last Monday and on Tuesday my companion got sick so Tuesday morning (till 3:00 pm) we stayed inside and he slept. I just sat around and read. I made it through about half of the new testament in one sitting, it was dull but interesting. I like the book of Acts, it has a lot of interesting stuff in it. I have had a slight cold. Haven't really felt sick in any way, I have felt perfect, except for nose, it has just been really stuffy, but it has mostly faded now.
Zone conference was a blast! Started out with a long taxi ride and Elder Hillam and I showed up in Mo-bay just in time, we were walking to the grocery store to buy breakfast, we had about an hour before the conference began when all of a sudden president and sister gingery ran into us. They took the 2 of us to Burger King for Breakfast, it was nice! Got to save a bit of money and have a great breakfast with President! The conference was really good! Had a barbeque where we got hotdogs and hamburgers (something we don't get any other time) and we learned a bunch! It was one of the best conferences I have been to! We all had our ties cut (a tradition of the Gingerys, they always cut a tie of a missionary that is going home and keep it for a quilt that sister Gingery is making, and since they are going home they cut everyone's ties) There are some good pictures! Sister Gingery has a few that she will email to you, I have a good amount to, I am not sure which is better, so just save all of them if you could! Learned that in the church news (either last week or in the next few weeks) their will be an article on the turks and caicos islands! Keep it for me if you can get a copy of it! They are getting ready to send the first missionaries there, it will be great to see those countires open up!
District conference unique. It took place in mo-bay, president had stayed in Negril on Saturday night so he gave us a ride up there! It was the last one in Mo-bay, they dissolved the district and released all the members of the district. Now the branches have to report directly to the mission president. The idea behind eliminating the district is to strengthen the branches. The members of the District leadership are all very strong members and so that will add strong priesthood back into the branches where they can hold callings and really help the branches grow. It is a good idea and I am interested to see how well it works. Jamaica really wants a stake but they are not quite their. The first place to get a stake will be Kingston, the rest of the island will remain under the control of the mission president until a distant future time. Kingston is close! To become a stake you need 120 full tithe paying, active melchezidik priesthood holders. It is very close, only need like 10-20 more! Hopefully by the time I leave my mission I will see the first stake in Jamaica form over in Kingston!
Sister Hylton is still doing super good! She has been taught everything and even made it all the way to Mo-bay for district conference. She is preparing to be baptized this Saturday and if all goes well in her interview she will be ready! She is progressing very well and all looks good! Tim on the other hand has run into a difficulty! He moved to Kingston. So he is out of our hands now, hopefully he still gets baptized in Kingston.
So randomly on of my toes (not either of my big toes, just one of the small ones) decided to get an ingrown toenail. I noticed it early and so it has really grown into a sever problem. Luckily it is just one of the small toes, they aren't a huge pain in the neck. But with that I could either get it fixed from a doctor or just attempt to remove it myself. My companion suggested that I just remove it myself. The medical system here doesn't work. National Health care is a complete failure, it just causes huge problems and now all you can get is really lousy health care. So I have successfully cut my own hair and now I will attempt to successfully perform a very minor surgery on my foot! It should be a lot of fun, I am interested to see how it goes! Haha
Yet again I am running low on things to say. But I will just keep going on here until I think of something of value to say. My bike is still doing amazing, hasn't had any problems for a few weeks now! I am quite happy with that! The Gingerys are pretty much done, they go home next week. It will be sad to see them go, they are both amazing! But I am also very excited to meet the new mission president. President Graff will mostly be my mission president, I will know him for most of my mission.
On Saturday night the power went out so we went in early (it is unsafe to be out in the dark) the house was very dark and we learned that all we had was birthday candles. So every 3 or 4 minutes we had to light a new candle. Birthday candles don't last very long. It was eventful. Eventually the power came back on so all was good in the end.
Well I learned that Jamaica is one of the slowest areas for the church in the world. It has grown very slowly. In 35 years it has only grown to about 5000 members, and out of those only about 2000 are active. It is weird to see how slow it grows. The missionaries try ridiculously hard. The morals of the country have declined to the point where almost anything goes. It is interesting to note that as the values and the morals of a country decrease the quality of the country also decreases. Virtue, chastity and Crime are huge problems here. There is nothing that even looks like a family, no one is married, no one is committed to anything, education is very limited and many can't do basic skills. The church has a hard time growing in so much sin. But there are still good people here. The Church does contain some of Jamaica's best people! It still has hope, it is just going to be a long slow process towards stakes and eventually a temple.
Well Things have been going well here. I wish I had some interesting insight from my studying that I have had recently, but my mind is blank at the moment. Transfers are coming up this Saturday, I am interested to see if I go somewhere new or if I just stay in Negril for another transfer. I won't know till Thursday night. I sort of don't want to leave but at the same time I am getting tired of the bike ride, it is starting to get really long.
I am running low on time but I hope all is going well at home! Summer Vacation is hopefully going well! It would be nice to have a bit more relaxation time, but oh well. I love you all and wish you the best!
Elder Kent Talbert

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 15, 2009

Sounds like it has been a good week for everyone! The Yard looks completely different, I like it! I am glad that girl's camp was great! I remember doing a similar activity as your whole rope thingy at the Young mens camp they did 2 years ago. This morning I had an intense round of Book of Mormon Golf, we were tied for the first 5 or 6 rounds but then during our final tie breaker I got a decent one and my companion got one of the Isaiah chapters and he had no clue which one it was.
Well this week has been decent enough. The highlight was definitely my pillow! So I have had no pillow since I left home 4 months ago. I have just been sleeping without one. It was going to be too difficult to carry one all the way to the house in Negril so I just didn't bother to get one. Then Elder and Sister Smith, the senior couple for our zone did house inspections, saw I didn't have a pillow, and then yesterday after church they had come to Negril to give a fireside so they also bought me a pillow before they left Mo-bay! It was great! Last night was possibly one of the best nights I have had since I left; I had forgotten how great it was to have a pillow! The Smiths have been very helpful and kind! (And they provided E. Hillam and I with a tub of homemade cookies!)
We have been trying to build closer relationships with a lot of the members recently so this week we have been going around and serving them. On Thursday we spent all morning laying concrete for a house that the Henries are building. It was a lot of fun. Bro. Henry mixed the cement (we don't have any fancy mixers in Negril, just a pile of dry cement, dirt, sand, and water), E. Hillam carried the cement/dumped it and I spent the morning on my knees smoothing it out and leveling it. I don't think it is possible with the tools we had to have done the house with less than 3 people. After we finished the Henries provided us with rice, chicken and Roasted Breadfruit for a quick lunch. It was good! We have also been watering sis. Mitchells garden and watching it grow. She is convinced that it will grow better because the missionaries are watering it every day opposed to her watering it. On Monday night we went over to Bro. Allen's house and had Family Home Evening it was a lot of fun! We had a lot more people than expected. We were in charge of the lesson and so we planned a decent lesson, but then we showed up and there were 30 people there, all relatives and only 2 of them were members, the rest were non-members so our lesson had to quickly be reformatted to teach people who knew nothing about our faith. We have family home evening with the whole group of them again tonight, only this time we are in charge of the activity, someone else is doing the lesson. It has been a good week with the members, we have done a lot and gotten to know the members a lot better, their trust has really grown in the missionaries.
Well randomly on Friday our Branch president met us on the road and informed us that we have district conference on the 21st of June (like stake conference! only we don't have any stakes). That was a pain to learn, we have to go to Mo-bay (more taxi fare) and it is going to be really hard to get any investigators there, it isn't the cheapest ride in the world. It costs about $10 US which is quite a lot since most jobs in Negril pay about $10 US a day for 8-12 hours of work. It will be really good to hear from the mission presidency but it will potentially really slow down the progress of our investigators.
President Gingery is approaching his departure date super fast! Only has 2 weeks left. This Friday is his farewell conference with the missionaries in our zone. We are having a big barbeque and then interviews and talks. I am excited for it! And I am excited to meet the new mission president in 2 weeks.
This week I have been reading through conference Ensigns that I found, finished 2007, 2008, and 2009. So a lot of reading but I have really enjoyed it. There have been a lot of really good talks these past few years. I think some of my favorites are Elder Holland's talks for the last 4 conferences and Elder Scot's from..ugh! I think fall 2007, about knowing Truth, it is really good! I have also been reading through the Book of Mormon again during the start of my personal Study, I want to read it a bit more but I don't really have any time.
Our investigators are doing good enough. We are going to have to postpone Tim's baptism due to the district conference; it is going to be rough. At the rate we are going our baptisms might not take place till July, and by that point I probably won't be in Negril due to transfers. There is a slight chance that I will stay here, but it is looking more and more like I will leave.
Sis. Hylton is still doing very good. She has been reading from the book of Mormon plenty, she always reads a random chapter, even when we mark one for her to read she ends up on the wrong chapter, we aren't sure how that happens, but oh well. She still is having a second baptism concern. She understands the priesthood and all but I just don't think her testimony of the restoration is strong enough yet. We are hopeful though, we have a good lesson planned for Tuesday that will address the problem in a different way that we haven't gone yet.
On a side note, don't know why I just thought of this, but on June 22nd there is an eclipse! I am hoping that it is visible but knowing Jamaica we will probably have way too many clouds to even see the sky. We had a really cool Halo around the moon about 3 weeks ago that was super cool to see and last week there was a really weird ring around the sun in the middle of the afternoon, I am still not sure what the ring was. At night time you can see the stars super well! At about 7:30 it becomes super dark outside as the sun disappears and since there are few city lights the stars are very visible.
I had some great pasta this week! I received a really nice saute pan from another missionary and decided to use it for what I had used them for for so long. I bought some noodles and made some good alfredo sauce! It was a very good meal. Yesterday we made brownies after all was over and had a late night snack. Food is getting repetitive here, I seem to eat the same things everyday, but every once in a while I get something new!
Our mission really has a strong obedience focus on every single little thing. If we get home at 9:01 pm we have to call president and inform him (and it is not fun to do!). Every little rule is expected to be followed to the very best of our ability. They recently made the rule of no naps. That has been difficult at lunch time, even the short 15 minute nap is missed haha. But it is really good. I like the strictness, and as we do it more and more I have seen the reasons behind the rules and they don't become difficult to follow at all.
Well I am running short on time and need to get to burger king! (we are meeting other missionaries their for lunch/football) I hope all goes well at home! I will keep my eye open for that package in a week or so. I am doing well and enjoying my time in Jamaica.
I love you all!
Elder B. Kent Talbert

Monday, June 8, 2009

June 8th, 2009

Well this week has been good. The deck looks really nice! I like it! And Laura it sounds like you had a pretty sweet week! So where to begin! There is a lady in our branch named Sis. Whyte. She was always really nice and seemed to know a lot, her comments in class were always really good, but I never really knew much about her. Last Sunday she invited us to come and eat dinner at her house on Thursday. It was really good! Lots of different fresh vegetables (something we don't really get in Jamaica) and some decent fish. She lived in this really big really nice house. It was weird, it made us feel like we were back in the states. I learned that she use to live in the states and even worked at the temple for many years. It amazed me. Few members have been to the temple, especially in Negril, so to learn that one use to work their was very surprising. Overall it was a good experience! We have been trying to get around to visiting all the members in the branch and building close relationships with them, it helps a ton with fellowshipping our investigators and also with free food!
On Wednesday we went to our district meeting as usual, but then it started to rain and my companion went and worked on some things for his exit video that needs to be made before his mission is finished. So we got stuck in Mo-Bay till nearly 4 and then didn't get back to Negril till after 6:30 so more or less our entire day was ruined, but oh well.
Our investigators are doing really well! Tim has a baptism date of June 20th, and Sis. Hylton has a date of the 27th. Sis Hylton is amazing! She loves our message and has been sharing it with her son+daughter+family. We have been teaching her family now and had 5 investigators at church on Sunday (that is a huge amount, most areas are happy to have 2)! It was really good! Sis. Hylton has provided us with some of the best investigators we have had! Her Daughter in law Marsha is really good. She has read a ton of the book of mormon, which we gave her on Saturday, in Relief Society she bore her testimony on it (her first Sunday at church) and told us that she almost got up and bore her testimony in Sacrament Meeting! Her Daughter Loves the church and is a genius. The whole family is really easy to teach because none of them really has a set church, all can read extremely well, and they are all very willing to listen and very interested! It has been a great week working with them! We have had a terrible time finding new investigators, we only have 6 investigators but all of them are progressing and will hopefully all be baptized by the end of the month or the start of July. I am hoping for the end of the month because there is a strong chance that on the 27th (transfers) I will be leaving Negril. This transfer is short due to the new mission president but we are still managing to see some really good progress!
Well my companion and I have spent the last 2 weeks searching for a can opener. Our entire hurricane food supply is canned food, but we have no can opener and we couldn't find one at any store! Well we finally found one, it was $20 US and was still just a typical hand crank one. We didn't buy it due to its cost, we didn't see a point when in Spanish Town they sell them for $5 US. So now we have ordered one from the mission office and have to wait for 2 weeks. Just hope that a hurricane doesn't hit before then!
I have been studying a bit about the Great Apostasy and after looking at other religions and their origins, and the various councils, reformers, doctrines, and it really doesn't make sense how people can be part of all these different churches. If they would just look at everything that has gone on they can easily assume that there is a problem with religion. If I had studied all this without knowing that Jospeh Smith was a prophet I would have come to the conclusion that either He was a prophet or that there is no true church on the face of the earth. The History of the Christian Religion is just crazy and everywhere, it is illogical where so many of these different religions came from.
This week not much has really happened, we have just taught the same people a lot and tried to find new people. I don't have to much else. I did give myself a haircut this week, that was interesting and fun! I did the sides shorter than the top and then blended it nicely. It turned out shorter than I wanted, mostly because the hair clippers only had a #3,#2,#1 so I didn't have much of a choice. I would just go get it cut somewhere else but my companion likes to do his on his own and has stuff to do it with and I watched him cut his hair and I decided that I was going to have to get one on Monday so I might as well just give myself one. It would be free and I wanted to see if I could give myself a hair cut or if I would just ruin my hair and look goofy for the next few weeks. Overall it turned out nice, my companion had to do my neck, didn't dare do that on my own. I need to remember to take pictures of that sometime today.
My bike hasn't run into any problems for nearly 2 weeks now! It has been really nice to not have to repair everything. It is finally in decent enough condition that it is fine. I could always make it better but oh well. I don't want to take the time or the money. I am running low on things to say. I have just sat here staring at the screen for the last few minutes trying to think of something! Yesterday at church we had a baby blessing! It was cool! We also had a good amount of melchezidek priesthood holders at church (something we are lacking on) we had 8! 4 members and 4 missionaries! (2 of the senior couples that are going home soon were taking a tour of the island and decided to come to church with us). Jamaica is sort of close to a stake. There are 3 districts in the island and the one in the triangle which covers Spanish town, Kingston, and portmore are close! They still need a bit more active priesthood and full tithe payers. Hopefully we will have a stake some time in the next 12-18 months. Jamaica is slow going, missionaries have been here for 30 years and there is only about 5000 members and only about 2000 active members. Well time is running out! It is great to hear from you all again and I hope that this next week goes really well for you all! I am doing well and don't really have anything to complain about.
I love you all!
Elder Kent Talbert

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 1, 2009

Well this week has been good. I am currently sitting in the Email shop and this strange old white guy who looks like a crazy professor keeps coming over to me and quoting random scriptures that he knows and telling me how good the book of mormon is, he is absolutely crazy but it is giving me a good laugh.
I got a new preach my gospel, which has been good. I like not having a water damaged one held together with bits of tape. I am still keeping both. The water damaged one gets taken to district meeting weekly so that if it rains I don't have to worry. My new one is for personal/companion study only so that it stays nice.
I had to give another talk in sacrament meeting yesterday. It went very well, I was quite pleased with my talk and managed to use a decent amount of time. By the time I get home I will have had enough practice to go on for hours haha. I also got to be the chorister for church, it isn't very hard, we have pretty lousy singers in our branch, but it makes for some good laughs when they start making up their own tune.
I don't think I have any random things for the day, I have had a fairly generic week and haven't really run into any problems or things I need so that's good I guess. Thanks for the Line of Authority dad. The Deck is looking good and it sounds like things go well at home. The Family history thing sounds like it will be really nice! Our branch is holding a fireside next week on Family History.
This week we have been working with 2 investigators a lot and then a handful of others. Yesterday at church we had both of our investigators there. A man named Tim and a women named Sis. Hylton. Tim is 27 years old, single, intelligent and a bit weird. He always says "It's not a problem" to about everything so we never really know what he is thinking. Things are looking really positive for him, he has a smoking problem but we are working on that one right now. He wants to be baptized and he really has no concerns. The biggest thing is going to be the smoking. We see him everyday and are really working hard with him, it goes well.
Sis. Hylton is a bit older, like 52. She is also very intelligent. Has really long dreads and lives out in the middle of nowhere. She is really good. Turns out that she is related to 50% of the branch so church went very well, she told us that she is coming next week and might even bring some of her daughters and sons! Her biggest concern is that she has been baptized previously and doesn't see the need to rebaptize. So most of our lessons have been around the priesthood but I think she is beginning to understand the big picture and the need to have baptism done by the priesthood.
We are excited for Negril! It is a very difficult area, their hasn't been any baptisms in nearly a year, it needs to see some progress soon! We are losing a lot of missionaries and not getting as many as are leaving so they are closing the less effective areas. Negril isn't on the list yet but if they keep losing missionaries then it will get on the list if something doesn't happen!
Things are going well here. E. Hillam and I are doing well together, we get along really well, even if he is an extreme University of Utah fan. He goes home in like 2.5 months but is still working really hard! We are seeing some good success together. This week we have found some really good people. We met a lady named Nikola, she had 4 children.. Nikolette, Nikroy, and 2 others that I forgot, but they all began with "Nik" it was really confusing and hard to keep straight who was who.
This week has been fairly normal. We haven't had anything out of the ordinary or of interest happen. I am not 100% sure where to go from here.
Bro. Mitchell makes me laugh. He always wears white! He drives a white truck, owns his own car shop and does really well in life, but even when he is working on cars he wears all white, I have never seen him put on anything else. His shoes are white, his watch in white, everything is white. His house used to be all white, inside and out until he got married. Then Sis. Mitchell had the missionaries come over and paint the outside of their home pink and the inside has a green and white pattern going on.
I have been studying a lot about the life of Jesus Christ and a good amount from Preach my Gospel. Personal study time is still my very favorite time of the day. I enjoy going out and teaching and all the other random things that have to be done daily but the one hour in the morning where I just sit down and study is the best. I always use my lunch time as extra study time, eat a quick lunch and then get back to studying. Formally the missionaries took quick naps during lunch, because we get 1 hour of lunch time but then president gingery said no more naps.
I still haven't gotten around to getting pictures printed but that is today's task! Sis. Mitchell wants some pictures I have of her sons birthday party that I took so I need to get those printed and while I am at it I will just get all my pictures that I want done.
I am running out of useful stuff to say, I feel like I am just rambling along. I am excited for lunch soon, I ate all my breakfast food and I didn't want ramen for breakfast so I just had water haha.
Well in the last 5 minutes microsoft word has started acting all crazy and delted my email I was writing. Thankfully I was able to recover it with a bit of effort, had me worried for a minute that I was going to have to send a really short moderately useless email! haha.
Well I am glad that things are going well back home. Jamaica is very good. I can't believe that it is already June, May is gone. This transfer will seem to fly by because it is short due to our new mission president coming. they are doing some crazy thing with transfers. I hope you all enjoy the start of your summer vacation! I am nearly out of time, tell everyone hi for me. I love you all!
-Elder Kent Talbert